Jun 23, 2016 Marketing in a World of Cardboard
Gartner finds that virtual reality marketing is at the beginning of an impressive growth cycle. A number of exciting products are available—more are on the way.
This post focuses on uses of Google Cardboard apps.
Google Cardboard is far from the richest VR experience around, but its low-cost, highly accessible experiences are invaluable for mobile marketing. You can use Cardboard as a “gateway” VR app to work out approaches and logistics before you make heavy investments in other products. Or Cardboard may turn out to exactly fit your campaign needs.
Be Seen as Fresh, Now
VR apps occupy a niche that “standard” apps held five years ago: They lend an inherent novelty and sense of savvy thought leadership to your brand. That’s a key reason why firms like Lowe’s, Marriott Hotels, The New York Times, and The North Face are already using Google Cardboard apps in their efforts to win new business.
Low Barriers to Entry
A Google Cardboard app can let you harness virtual reality (VR) cost-effectively. While the level of effort involved in creating a Google Cardboard app is driven by the app’s complexity (as with any app), skilled software engineers employ techniques that streamline development of many sophisticated elements.
More than 25 million Google Cardboard apps have been installed. And, unlike the typically pricey hardware needed for other virtual reality platforms, you can buy viewers for as little as a few dollars each. This makes Google Cardboard reasonable for many outbound campaigns: just send out viewers with your logo and colors, along with download information for your app.
Make Sure You Have a Story to Tell
Today, much of marketing is about compelling story-telling. Certain Google Cardboard elements lend themselves to conveying such stories. For instance:
- 3D Visualization. You’ll be able to present data in ways that standard two-dimensional environments cannot. For instance, you can use 3D graphs to impart fast, intuitive understanding of complex relationships between data and performance.
- Panoramic Video. 3D video can be configured to display in a 360-degree perspective—enabling a deeply immersive experience.
Of course it’s not enough to just use whiz-bang visual elements. For your app to succeed, it’s vital to have a strong concept and to storyboard how and where messages supporting your concept will be delivered.
Sure, It’s For B2C, but It Can Be Great for B2B, Too
Entice a potential guest by letting him virtually experience a resort’s offerings. Allow a homeowner to visualize the new garage doors she could have. It’s easy to see how Google Cardboard apps can market places and things to consumers.
But what about B2B and services marketing? Actually, sure. You can walk a prospect through elements of your service offerings and convey your success stories in an immersive, engaging way.
For that matter—why stop at new business development? Why not punch up your annual report with profits shown in eye-popping 3D graphs? Or simulate real-life experiences in employee training?
Be Sure QA Takes Place throughout Engineering
VR development poses special challenges beyond those present in the typical mobile app design process. Apps must meet unusual standards of performance in order to overcome the risk of eyestrain or adverse reactions, and must be tested across a wide range of devices and screen sizes to ensure a convincing 3D environment independent of screen size. You’ll want to be sure your app engineering firm follows a strict QC process and that QA is built in throughout engineering, not just tacked on at the end. Finally, be sure to allow ample time for your own user testing.
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